Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Bianchi Special Prosecutor Asks To Settle Lawsuit
Tonigan was at his Barrington law office Tuesday but didn't return a call seeking comment. Bianchi was in his office, too, but said he had to refer any questions to his attorney. That was Chicago lawyer Terry Ekl who said under the terms of the proposed settlement he wasn't allowed to talk about it.
Ekl was allowed to say that about $105,000 of the settlement would go to retire $275,000 the McHenry County Board fronted Bianchi so the State's Attorney wouldn't sue the County to recover the nearly $500,000 he had to pay Ekl to defend him. The remaining $52,000 of Tonigan's settlement would go to Bianchi who, presumably, would use it against the part of Ekl's bill the County didn't cover.
Tonigan's settlement is more than he billed McHenry County for being a Special Prosecutor, $142,000. Indeed, he hasn't even received that much since the County's still appealing the final round of bills Tonigan and fellow Special Prosecutor Thomas McQueen submitted.
McQeen's did most of the actual work in the Bianchi prosecutions which ended in directed verdicts of "not guilty" without a defense. He's also a defendant in Bianchi's civil case and, while he was in his office Tuesday, he deferred to his attorney, Michael Hannigan, for any comment. Hannigan said he didn't have any. In court filings, however, McQueen's argued Bianchi can't sue him because he was acting as a public official. That was Tonigan's position, too, until the settlement agreement.
Ekl previously has charged the Bianchi prosecutions were "politically motivated". Tuesday he said he'll prove it if he can keep what he thinks are important parts of 17,000 letters and emails among Tonigan, McQueen and their investigators, Quest Consultants, from going under a judge's secret seal. A decision on that's expected in August.
In the pic: Lou Bianchi Special Prosectors Henry "Skip" Tonigan (right) and Thomas McQueen when they announced his indictment.